Over at Zanker Elementary School, Principal Shangrila Mia-Ramzan and staff welcomed students in for the 2019-2020 year.
There’s so much to look forward to in this brand new school year!
Building students’ understanding of and rigor in Math will be a huge focus for the Zanker team.
"I think oftentimes that the traditional model of teaching Math has been in the computation and math fluency skills…for example, knowing your multiplication and division tables. And that’s vital in terms of building a core foundation,” said Shangrila. "But in this day and age, we’re trying to prepare our students to be global students and members of the world. And in order to do that, you have to go beyond the digits. You have to look at the application in the real world. It’s not just a set of multiplication problems, but also, how is this relevant to my daily environment? And how can we build our students’ agency?”
A team of Zanker teachers has been participating in the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative (SVMI), which not only has been helping to build teachers’ alignment to common core standards, but to also find ways to bring up the rigor level of lessons, while taking into consideration the lens of equity in Math.
"We’ve also collaborated with a couple community organizations to bring in additional enrichment opportunities for children after school,” said Shangrila. “And this will be our second year of a program called Girl Start, a free STEM based academic enrichment program for 4th and 5th grade girls. It meets once a week after school. The first year was great. We had about 30 girls participate.”
Years back, two of Shangrila's oldest children attended Zanker. This was before she was Principal. So she feels a strong connection to the school, and is excited about all that is transpiring. She noticed that parent and family engagement increased significantly last year, which she attributes to the amazing individuals on the Zanker PTA.
“Everyone on our Zanker team has been here, working together to support our students and families,” said Shangrila. “Everyone is here because they have the passion and commitment to serve our community. It’s definitely a tight knit community.”